Sunday, June 28, 2015

TPP-- How Did Venal Corporate Special Interests Turn Their Defeat Into Victory?


Are we that dumbed down as a society that we're going to do it AGAIN?

The catastrophic trade package that Obama and Boehner are so determined to deliver to their Big Business and Wall Street contributors doesn't appear ready to die-- not by a longshot. While progressives were celebrating how they had beaten them back last week, the Dark Forces regrouped and came back, with a vengeance. Thursday the House voted 286-138 to pass the TAA (H.R. 1295), a piece of the package that had to be resolved with the Senate's version. At least the Republicans backed away from their mean-spirited and ugly demand that the money for retraining displaced workers by stolen from Medicare. That allowed many Democrats to rally around Boehner and pretend that everything was wonderful with at least this part of the TPP package.

It looks like the Hastert Rule is as dead and buried as the former Speaker's good name. Although 111 Republicans voted YES, most Republicans voted NO. Steve Knight (CA-25), for example, was perfectly happy to vote for the bill when it included $700 million in cuts to Medicare, but he turned his nose up to the bill without the Medicare cuts-- he and 131 other Republicans. Meanwhile 175 Democrats followed Pelosi into a state of delusion and voted YES. Only 6 Democrats voted NO, including staunch progressives Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).

I wondered why they decided to buck the party and oppose a fait accompli. I called half a dozen progressive Members to try to get an idea why progressives were on both sides of the issue. Matt Cartwright could not have been blunter and more forthcoming. "It was my way of saying," he told me after the vote, "I want no part of any of this trade package. And the TAA part is completely inadequate."

Another progressive-- a YES vote on this, which surprised me-- asked to stay off the record if I wanted the inside scoop. I agreed to the terms. "Labor didn't fight this bill and the bill was a priority for the black caucus because TAA was merged into the Africa trade preferences bill. Also Leader Pelosi said she was voting for it."

Sounds like weak tea to me. "And Pelosi was voting for it?" Well, did anyone ever believe this wasn't her plan all along? She's no dummy, and she's defined her job from the day Obama was elected as the House strategist to move his program through Congress-- even the truly awful pieces, like the TPP.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) waved the white flag on Wednesday, telling her caucus she would support passage of a key measure tethered to President Barack Obama's broader trade agenda. Her support all but guarantees that the measure will succeed, thereby handing Obama a major victory on trade.

Pelosi and House Democrats were the last obstacle against Republican and pro-trade Democrats' efforts to grant Obama so-called "fast-track" authority to clear major trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, through Congress with ease.

House Democrats succeeded in blocking fast-track nearly two weeks ago when they defeated Trade Adjustment Assistance, which was tied to the fast-track legislation. TAA provides aid to workers who have lost their jobs as a result of trade deals.

In response to the defeat of TAA, Obama and Republican leaders crafted a new plan to pass fast-track, also known as Trade Promotion Authority, as a standalone bill without TAA. The clean fast-track bill, already passed by the House, is expected to sail through the Senate later Wednesday and then on to Obama's desk.

Next, the Senate will immediately move to pass TAA for workers, which is now attached to an African trade preferences bill, after which it will be sent back to the House. And with Pelosi's support, TAA should have the votes for passage.

"I’m disappointed that the TAA bill isn’t nearly as robust as it should be in light of a trade agreement that encompasses 40 percent of the global economy," Pelosi wrote in a Dear Colleague letter to House Democrats. "While we may not all vote in the same manner on TAA, I will support its passage because it can open the door to a full debate on TPP."

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At 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is why the US is in serious need of the end of the "two" party scam. What we have are two corrupt wings of the Corporatist Party, whose differences pale in comparison to their agreements on behalf of their corporate sponsors. As such, they tend to act as one party - one which works against the interests of the citizens of this nation.

At 6:40 AM, Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

"Impeachment is off the table" Pelosi stabbed us in the back again?

Shocked, stunned, etc.


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